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Photo Credit: Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

LGD: Last Leafs game at the Joe

Tonight’s contest pits a team who hasn’t played a playoff game in four years against a team who hasn’t not played a playoff game in 26.

One of those teams is likely to head to the playoffs, and the other is the Red Wings.

Though this isn’t the biggest rivalry in the division by any stretch, it’s still only around a three-hour drive between arenas and there is some definite history between these two sides.

Toronto has won all three games they’ve played against Detroit this season, most notably a Centennial Classic overtime victory with the winning goal scored by Auston Matthews.

Toronto can take a serious step towards the postseason with two points tonight, while Detroit may look to play spoiler. They may look to tank. Who really knows with the Red Wings these days?

The Leafs

Defensive Pairings
Morgan Rielly
Morgan Rielly
Connor Carrick
Connor Carrick
Jake Gardiner
Jake Gardiner
Nikita Zaitsev
Nikita Zaitsev
Matt Hunwick
Matt Hunwick
Roman Polak

Roman Polak

The Leafs are a better team with Kasperi Kapanen in the lineup than without. 25% of the team’s forward group has won a rookie of the month award this season, while 33% have won one at some point (JVR won it once in Philadelphia.

William Nylander only has 2 less NHL points than Dylan Larkin in 58 less games.

The Leafs have a +48 goal differential better than the Red Wings. If you take out shootout losses and wins which for some reason count in the equation, you get…  a +62 difference between these two teams.

On paper it’s a mismatch, but they don’t play the games on paper.

The Red Wings

Defensive Pairings
Dan DeKeyser
Dan DeKeyser
Nick Jensen
Nick Jensen
Niklas Kronwall
Niklas Kronwall
Mike Green
Mike Green
Xavier Ouellet
Xavier Ouellet
Robbie Russo
Robbie Russo

The Wings start tonight with three defencemen who have spent a fair amount of time in the AHL this season, two defenders who probably should be in the ECHL this season, and Mike Green.

Henrik Zetterberg has had a silently brilliant 64-point campaign, while Tomas Tatar leads the team with 23 goals. Currently, he’s the only player on the roster with 20 goals this season, which sort of explains Detroit’s offensive woes.

Simply put, this team isn’t very good offensively or defensively. They’re not well coached, poorly managed, and have a bunch of bad contracts on the books for the next few years. It looks like the days of Detroit being a model franchise might be in the past.

Side note: If Ben Street had a street named after him, what would it be called?

Standin’ in the crease

It’s likely to be Freddy vs. Jimmy (Howard) tonight.

Where to watch

Saturday night, CBC!

If you’re scoreboard watching, the Senators and Lightning play tonight (against the Jets and Canadiens, respectively), while the Bruins are currently in progress against the Florida Panthers at time of publishing.